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Santa Clara VTA Light Rail 7/20/2019

by Chris Guenzler

After the trip in Niles Canyon Railroad I drove to the VTA station in Alum Rock, parked my car in the lot before walking across the strret to the station where I got a 5 Dollar Day Pass paper ticket which was good only on the light rail for 8 hours.

Santa Clara VTA Light Rail History

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail is a light rail transit system that serves the Santa Clara County in the U.S. state of California. The system has 42.2 miles of tracks and is operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which oversees public transit services in the county. The system serves over 32,000 passengers a day as of fiscal year 2007.

The initial segment of the VTA light rail between the Civic Center and Old Ironsides stations began service on December 11, 1987. In 1988 and 1990, the system was extended south of Civic Center to Downtown San Jose and Tamien station. Another 9.7 miles segment to Santa Teresa and Almaden stations was added to the system in April 1991, completing the entire Guadalupe section. In December 1999, the system underwent another extension with the completion of the Tasman West section and began services to Mountain View. The system was extended to I-880/Milpitas in 2001 and to Hostetter station in 2004 as part of the Tasman East extension. In the same year, the Capitol extension to Alum Rock station was also finished. The latest section, the Vasona extension, was completed in 2005, connecting Campbell to Downtown San Jose. The system currently has 61 stations, of which 37 stations are served by the Mountain View-Winchester line, 36 are served by the Alum Rock-Santa Teresa line, and 3 are served by the Ohlone/Chynoweth-Almaden line. The majority of stations, 41, are located in San Jose. Seven stations are in Sunnyvale and five are in Mountain View. Campbell, Milpitas, and Santa Clara each have three stations.

VTA closed Evelyn station on March 16, 2015 in order to build a second track between Mountain View and Whisman stations.

Our Trip

I had to wait for the next train to come in before I could start taking pictures.

My VTA train at Alum Rock. This is a Blue Line train which makes stops at these station if yot reguest them. So the possible stops were: McKee, Penitencia Creek, Berryessa, Hostetter, Cropley, Montague, Great Mall/Main, I-880/Milipitas, Cisco Way, Baypointe, Tasman, River Oaks, Orchard, Bonaventura, Component, Karina, Metro Airport, Gish, Civic Center, Japantown/Ayer, St. James, Santa Clara, Paseo San Antonio, Convention Center, Children's Discovery Museum, Virginia, Tamien {connection to Caltrain}, Curtner, Capitol, Branham, Ohlone/Cheynoweth, Blossum Hill, Snell, Cottle and Santa Teresa the end of the line.

The train that brought me from Alum Rock.

My next ride back to Ohlone/Cheynoweth for the line that will be eliminated. I detrained at Ohlone/Cheynoweth.

My train then left Ohlone/Cheynoweth.

Another train for Santa Teresa stopped at Ohlone/Cheynoweth.

My train for Almaden came into the station at Ohlone/Cheynoweth. I boarded this one car train for Almaden which stops on reguest at Oakridge before arriving intio Almaden.

Views of my train at Almaden. I reboarded and rode back to Ohlone/Cheynoweth.

My train from Almaden at Ohlone/Cheynoweth.

My train for the Convention Center came into Ohlone/Cheynoweth station. I rode to the Convention Center station where I got off. I would wait for the next train to Winchester.

My train left the Convention Center station.

First a train to Santa Teresa came in.

A Mountain View train came through the Convention Center station.

My train for Winchester finally came into the station. The stations are: San Fernando (SAP Center), Diridon (connection to Caltrains), Race, Fruitdale, Bascom, Hamelton, Downdown Campbell and Winchester.

My train was taken out of services so I would have to wait. This wait added to the wait at the Convention Center and killed my chances of riding the whole system. Mountian view would wait for another trip.

My next train would take me to Tasman where I would connect to a train to Alun Rock

The Campbell Central Pacific freight station.

My train leaves Tasman.

My last train for Alum Rock came in and took me back there arriving at 6:07 PM. I drove Interstate 680 and had to deal with a seven mile long traffic jam. Elizabeth told be there were two accidents on Interstate 580 before Tracy so I took Altamont Pass Road and missed both of them. Back in Tracy, I stopped at Arby's for a pair of roast beef clasics and enjoyed them in my room. I tired out doing the Niles Story so I called it a night.

7/21/2019 I got up at 6:15 AM and after checking out, stopped at MacDonald's for breakfast then drove east to Escalon where I found my first train of the new day.

BNSF 7054 West at Escalon. I then drove to the Modesto Amtrak station.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 2921 on display at the Modesto Amtrak station. I then drove back to Empire and took J7 south along the BNSF mainline.

San Joaquin 711 just north of Turlock/Denair. From here I drove south to Le Grand.

BNSF 7215 West at Le Grand.

San Joaquin 701 south of Le Grand. I next drove to Sharon and did not have to wait to long.

San Joaquin 702 at Sharon. I then took CA 99 south.

California High Speed Rail bridge across the San Joquin River.

California High Speed Rail bridge across CA 99. I stayed in CA 99 to Selma where I turned south onto CA 43 which took me back to ther BNSF mainline, I pulled off at a crossing due to a train was heading my way.

BNSF 4143 West at Ave 136 at Milepost 948.45. back inti the car I drove just one mile and saw two headlights with one coming my way.

BNSF 4010 West just north of Angiola.

BNSF 7323 West in the siding at Angolia.

This train at Angolia had DPUs on the rear end.

BNSF 7990 West at Sandrini with a coil steel train which is very heavy for BNSF. I took CA 43 to Interstate 5 at Castic I called Chris Parker who checked the traffic for me so I took Interstate 210 to CA 57 to CA 22.

I shot a Gold Line Train during the traffic jam. I had heavy slow traffic fron Pasadena all the way to CA 57 then the usual heavy traffic where the CA 57 comes into CA 60. I got through it all arriving home at 2:15 PM ending a great solo Railfanning trip.